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October 10, 2015 | 27th Tishrei 5776
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These words

Contact: Brian Levinson, 212.650.4221 




These Words Upon Our Heart, A Helpful Guide
To Judaism and World Religions, Released by URJ Press



These words, which I command you today, shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them faithfully to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you are going about your way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.

            Deuteronomy 6:6-7


N’shama (soul). Elohim (God). K’dushah (holiness).


Every religion has its own approach to the vital concepts embodied in these Hebrew words central to Jewish beliefs and practices. In These Words Upon Our Heart: A Lexicon of Judaism and World Religions, a new book published by the Union for Reform Judaism Press, author Steven E. Steinbock uses these words – along with others – to help Jewish learners of all ages explore the tenets and core beliefs of a wide range of religious faiths.


These Words Upon Our Heart is divided into thirteen chapters, each focusing on a Hebrew word and the set of beliefs that accompanies it. After exploring the etymology of each word and explaining the evolution it has undergone throughout the centuries, the book compares and contrasts the ideas behind these words with corresponding concepts in a variety of other world religions, including Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and many more. Using this conceptual approach, Steinbock compares the basic tenets of faith as different religious traditions understand them.


The chapter “Chayim: Life, Death, and Afterlife” contains descriptions of not only the ways that Jews find and create holiness in everyday life, but Plato’s description of the “other world” from the Republic; the Hindu concept of reincarnation; the Christian concept of Heaven; and the Muslim paradise. The chapter “Mashiach: The Messiah, an Image of Hope and Salvation” features entries on Jesus of Nazareth, the Native American Ghost Dance, and Jewish messianism during Biblical times and the Babylonian exile.


“[I] hope that you will use this book as a guide, reference, or textbook to better understand the words that we use to describe religion, to better know and appreciate our own religion, and to strengthen your ability to use and explain these words upon our heart,” Steinbock writes in the book’s introduction.


Steinbock, a graduate of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion’s Rhea Hirsch School of Education, has previously written two books for the URJ Press: Torah: The Growing Gift and The Gift of Wisdom: The Books of Prophets and Writings


These Words Upon Our Heart is appropriate for high school-age religious school students as well as students in adult education classes. An accompanying teacher’s guide is also available.


These Words Upon Our Heart retails for $13.95. To order, contact the URJ Press at 212.650.4120,, or visit the Press website at


The URJ Press is the book-publishing arm of the Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations). The Union is the central body of the Reform Movement in North America, and unites more than 1.5 million Reform Jews in 900 congregations across the United States and Canada. The Union’s programs and services include music and book publishing, adult education opportunities, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, and the Religious Action Center in Washington, DC.





A Lexicon of Judaism and World Religions

By Steven E. Steinbock

Published by the URJ Press

ISBN: 0-8074-0785-2

Price: $13.95


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